We were so excited to meet with Ashely Swapp, owner of Park Floral Design, to get her input on what it takes to create these stunning floral installations. It was great to sit down with her to hear about her inspirations, the design process, and her background. Read the interview below! 🙂
Photos by: Jill Thomas Photography
How and when did you get into floral design? Were you inspired by something or have you always been interested in it?
I have always known that I want to work with weddings. I thought my passion was photography, but after a while I wanted to try something more hands on and creative that’s still in the wedding industry. My mother and grandmother have been garden lovers ever since I was little, so I grew up around flowers and have always been very familiar with them. So I really just started teaching myself! I took online classes and was able to get internships with florists and now have my own company.
What’s the most important thing you need to know from a bride when creating her bouquet, flower attire, center pieces…
Color palette. Color is my favorite thing and I love the concept of always wanting to make it more complicated. I would say my style is very feminine and more on the wild side, But keeping a natural, garden look is also really important to me and a big inspiration for my designs.
What is your favorite part about designing floral attire and decorations for an event?
I think the reason I love my job so much is that it’s the exact opposite of calm. I love the design process and the crazy rush that comes from being in your element and how everything finally comes together after so many months. When the wedding day comes and everything is set up and the bride is happy, there’s no better feeling and is for sure one of the best parts about my job.
What is the time frame you need to get everything done?
It all starts with the clients and how early they decide to book. The ones who book around a year are obviously ideal, but if not a year at least a few months before is absolutely necessary. There’s material that needs to be ordered, flower orders to be placed, things that just take time and can’t be done last minute. But the week of the wedding is the most important week because i can’t start any designing until then. If the wedding is on saturday, then that Monday and Tuesday of that week is when I will start to pull candles, supplies, buy any last minute materials, start to put together arches… Wednesday I pick up the flowers from the airport and make a trip up to red daisy farm to complete any needed purchases. I’ll start to unwrap the flowers, clean and trim the stems, and start to fill the buckets. It’s an all day process but it always feels like christmas to me. Thursday and Friday are my actual design days and then Saturday is the wedding!
You have a variety of designs on your website from really simple greenery to these huge bright colored flowers, what display is your favorite to create and allows you to be the most passionate?
I love to incorporate both if I can. Flowers are obviously the focal point and it’s easiest for me when I have something to focus on and then i can build off of that and add in greenery and fillers.
Obviously there are thousands of types of flowers in the world, how do you know which ones are right for the couple you are working with? Meaning of the flowers?
The first and most important thing I have to consider is seasonality. Once I’ve narrowed down the flowers I have the option of working with I choose a few focal flowers that I’m familiar with, and then build off of those with greenery and fillers. Color palette plays a huge role in the design process because for the colors to go well together they have to transition smoothly and almost ombre into each other. I don’t ever want a polka dot effect. But actually some of my best designs have come from last minute forging, which is just clipping flowers or greenery or branches myself and adding them in. It’s only really necessary if something isn’t ordered properly or doesn’t come in the right color, but it’s fun to add in some personal touches and they always end up making the piece.
Who is your ideal client?
A bride who loves and appreciates art, as well as texture, color and of course flowers! It always makes choosing a color palette 100x easier. They will have a better understanding of what flowers will look best on their wedding day and can tend to be be more open as to what options they have for their flower attire and decor.
How do you stay up with all the current trends of floral design?
Art inspires me in so many different ways. All the different forms of nature, the certain colors that I love together, and the act itself of doing something for fun and because I love to do it allows me to show my true passion and love for floral design.